For car dealerships across the country, 2011 rolled out with a bang. North state dealerships saw the same trend.. A huge increase in car sales, for brands both international and domestic.
Corning Chevrolet General Manager Rob Mesker says, "I think the economy's starting to turn, number one. Number two, people kept their cars for a long, long time and it's at the point where they have to do something." Mesker says, they saw a significant increase in their sales last year.
The dealerships' two U.S. manufacturers, Buick and Chevrolet, sold nearly 200 new cars and trucks, a 15% increase over the previous year. And nationally, General Motors sold over 2.5 million new vehicles, up 13% over the year before. "I think we're seeing a trend. I'm thinking we're going to be something 15 percent up again this year," says Mesker.
Ford saw similar spikes. Nationwide, sales increased 11% for the year.. And for the first time since 2007, 2 million Fords were sold. Also, the Chrysler group sales were up 26% for all of 2011, selling more than 1.3 million vehicles.
Chico State economics specialist, Michael Suplita says, it's the first time all three big U.S. auto manufacturers have been profitable since 2004. He says, "If the big three are profitable, then that's a lot of money staying in the U.S."
And Suplita says more money staying within the country, means more money for local economies as well. With auto sales being up so high last year, it just paves the way for a an increase again this year. "2012 is set up nicely for a huge take off in car sales. And I can't see that slowing down," says Suplita.
Imports had a good year, as well. BMW and Mercedes-Benz were both up 13%. Nissan Motors saw a 15% increase, despite some issues they faced after the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March.